Officials in over a dozen counties in Southern California recently declared that detainer requests from federal immigration agents will be ignored–specifically, illegal immigrants eligible for deportation will no longer be held past the length of their jail times.
The announcement comes amid the revelation that more than 36,000 criminal illegal immigrants were released onto U.S. soil by government officials in 2013.
CBS Los Angeles reported that San Diego, Riverside, and San Bernardino are just three of about 100 municipalities that will no longer honor detainer requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
A 2009 ICE policy prompts local law enforcement to hold individuals accused of illegal immigration while they wait to be transferred to federal agents for processing and possible deportation.
Sylvia Longmire, a Breitbart Texas contributing editor and border security expert, said, “These are convicted criminals who are very likely eligible to be deported immediately, but because ICE either doesn’t have the personnel, resources, or just plain interest in transferring these individuals to immigration detention facilities, they’re being let go into local communities.”
But an April U.S. District Court ruling in Oregon apparently prompted counties to begin ignoring such detainer requests. According to CBS, the Oregon county involved in that case was found liable for damages after holding an illegal immigrant beyond her release date while she waited to be transferred to ICE.
The Oregon case questions the extent to which local law officials must cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.
ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said in a statement that the federal agency “will continue to work cooperatively with law enforcement partners throughout California as the agency seeks to enforce its priorities through the identification and removal of convicted criminals and others who are public safety threats.”
“Local law enforcement agencies are tired of having to enforce federal immigration laws when that’s not part of their mission, and definitely when they’re not receiving any additional funding to do so,” Longmire said. “This, in a way, is an announcement to the federal government that this is a DHS problem and they’re not going to deal with it anymore.”
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.